Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ryan's Communication Study & Justin's Middle School Orientation - Part 1

Whew, what a morning, afternoon and evening, Aspierations Amigos!

I don't know how your day went but I'm wiped out here!  The bonus day of 95 degree heat certainly didn't help and I could do without it being 84 degrees in the office now. (It's 73 degrees outside.  I'd go out and blog from there but I suspect that the mosquito crew would be ringing the dessert bell as well as tweeting to their friends about their wonderful fortune!)  Luckily, tomorrow is supposed to be about 20+ degrees less.  Yippee!!

If you checked out my blog in the past couple of days, you might remember that this is the week our family is running around getting ready for back to school.  I'm sure a lot of you are in that mode or were recently in that mode.  It seems from what I've been hearing that more and more school districts are starting earlier.  A scout pack member of Justin's who moved to Georgia started school on August 9th and when we were back in California, Justin's old elementary school started on August 16th.  For Justin we have a start date of Wednesday, September 1st and Ryan gets a bonus week off and starts on Thursday, September 9th.  If you feel so inclined, let me know what date your children / teens start(ed) school and what area of the country you're in.  I'm curious.

So anyway, we're attending workshops, support groups, having dental appointments, meeting with teachers, all that good stuff to make sure that our boys start out the school year with as much transition success as possible.

Well this morning we all got up early and headed into Beaverton, OR for Ryan to have a 2 hour intake assessment for a Communication / Autism Research study being conducted through the Oregon Science & Health University.  We left in plenty of time but got a little lost at the end.  This has been the second time this week we've been a bit late to an autism support / research related event and the second time I've been outwardly pleasant about it but edgy and anxious inside.  Next time, I'm driving...

Anyway, Justin came along with us since we thought we might have to drive straight to his middle school orientation Part 1 from there and of course, we didn't have a sitter.  We told him he could bring his Nintendo DSI (cha ching) and that if his behavior was appropriate, he might also get a chance to use Dad's new iPad (cha ching a ling a ding, solid gold, folks!!!!)

** TANGENT ALERT ** -- I must say that the iPad that I gave John for his birthday is awesome. Now granted, it's John's and if I'm a good girl I might occasionally get a peek at it, but this thing is techo-terrific!  (I admire it from afar and when he's in the shower, he lets me use it!  I wonder if he's found it odd or perhaps insulting that I've been hinting lately that he might consider bathing.)

One of the BEST parts about it is that there are so many GREAT apps now available to help kids and adults with autism and Aspergers.  Lots you pay for but so far we're trying out the free ones.

Social stories, alphabet tracing, voice recognition and response... John's only had the iPad since Saturday so he's just tapping the surface but this is going to be a fantastic tool for the boys and I know John will do a great job sharing.  (Justin now REALLY wants one and his birthday is in October. He doesn't quite get that this was a "special gift" to John from me and that we don't always give big gifts like this.  The concept of money / cost is difficult to get sometimes.)  He sees that his Grandpa has one, Dad has one and therefore, he should have one too.  It's hard to explain but he's not trying to be selfish.  My heart sinks because he is such a techno-wizard and I just can't afford to get him and his brother their own.  I know that John will share and hopefully one day in the future when prices come down, we can add a second for the boys as a learning productivity tool.  I can totally see this type of tool coming to the school systems in the future, especially for special education where it is actually less expensive than many of the communications devices out there now.

Truth be known, I'd really love one too because there are adult applications for Asperger's and autism and personal / emotional health issues I'm going through or have gone through in the past.  I could see having something private like this for my own without everyone looking over my shoulder, that I might have the chance to make some strides and breakthroughs of my own. I also see great business and organizational application potential.  My computers unfortunately do not always get the privacy respect, I would like.  No-one usually admits to it so I guess it's just gremlins that mess around when I'm away!  (Curious eyes in our family and curious hands...)

In all seriousness though, I'm blessed with so much already.  Now, if I happened to enter a sweepstakes for one and it magically popped up at my door saying "Winner Winner", that's another thing!  I actually used to be pretty lucky entering sweepstakes but that's another tangent and I'm already in the midst of one!  ** End of Tangent Alert & End of Tangent to Tangent Alert **

I just looked at the time and realized there would be no way that I would finish my blog tonight by my self-imposed 11:59 p.m. deadline.  It also occurred to me that I have a tremendous amount to say and I certainly want to do justice to it.

I think what I'll do is just call this Part 1 and then do Part 2 tomorrow.  My calendar looks pretty open. (Sleep in????? Ryan's been crawling into bed at odd times the past few nights so maybe not.)  Of course I always have work to do but I promise to get to my blogging here at Aspierations on Thursday.

Here is what you have to look forward to:

-- Our "Back To School" Roundtable meeting we attended on Monday, August 25th sponsored by the Autism Society of Southwest Washington and the ARC and links you might find useful for your own family's educational purposes.

-- Thoughts on Ryan, Justin or myself participating in Autism Research and links for you in case it might be something you are interested in for you or your family.

-- Anecdotes from our Middle School Orientation experience!  John at Life and Times of John Krejcha has already blogged about this in his blog tonight, "One Week Until We Have a Middle Schooler".  He got a head start on his blog since I had to catch up on emails and work stuff when I got home so please feel free to check out his blog and see what he says and then catch up with me tomorrow or the next day to read my interpretation.

I am so proud of both Justin and Ryan.  Justin did a great job at orientation today and we got to meet 3 of his 5 teachers!  Ryan had some major challenges but he pulled through like a trooper too and provided some great anecdotal material (i.e. comic relief) which I'll be sharing with you shortly!  (Hint: When you want to make a positive impression on your oldest son's future classmates, their parents and teachers, it can be just a tad horrifying embarrassing when your youngest son decides to blurt out random commentary about his Mommy's womanly body parts... and then of course tried to use visuals for examples...  'Nuff said for now!)

Hey, if that won't make you curious enough to come back, I promise more pearls and gems. Ryan gave gold tonight folks, he gave gold!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please come back for Part 2!  I promise it will have more meat & substance!  :-)

See ya later, alligator!
Karen

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